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Microsoft Dynamics ERP Selection: GP, AX, NAV, SL, CRM – notes for consultant

Microsoft recently (in September 2005) renamed its ERP product: Great Plains – Microsoft Dynamics GP, Navision – Microsoft Dynamics NAV, Axapta – Microsoft Dynamics AX, Solomon – Microsoft Dynamics SL, Microsoft CRM – Microsoft Dynamics CRM. 

Microsoft recently (in September 2005) renamed its ERP product: Great Plains – Microsoft Dynamics GP, Navision – Microsoft Dynamics NAV, Axapta – Microsoft Dynamics AX, Solomon – Microsoft Dynamics SL, Microsoft CRM – Microsoft Dynamics CRM.  The idea is probably nice – to unify future concordance product under Microsoft Dynamics name.  There are multiple possibilities, however in getting all MRP systems merged into one Microsoft Dynamics and what should be taken as base and what should be phased out.  We can not be judges – we will give you some facts for you to take into consideration.  This article is planned as a first entry point to look “under the hood” of Microsoft ERP applications and probably compare the facts with the competition: SAP (especially SAP Business One if you are small or mid-size company or international branch of multinational corporation), Oracle E-Business Suite/Oracle Financials, also referred as Oracle Applications.

  • Microsoft Dynamics GP 9.0/Microsoft Great Plains.  This ERP was initially architectured by Great Plains Software – Great Plains Dynamics and Great eEnterprise hit the market in earlier and middle 1990th.  If you remember those old-good-days of IT boom – nobody knew which operating system will win: Unix/Solaris, Microsoft Windows, Apple MAC OS.  This is why – the traditional (and pioneering way) for those days was to create a shell, written in C language to abstract you from Graphical platform.  Great Plains Dexterity was this shell, programming language (sanscript).  The second fundamental idea was to abstract Great Plains Dynamics from database platform, however the abstraction was done on the level of “budget” database platforms: Ctree/Faircomm, and Btrive, later on Pervasive SQL 2000, for Microsoft SQL Server 6.5/7.0/2000 Great Plains used atomic stored procs approach to speed up database access.  Nowadays Microsoft Dynamics GP/Great Plains versions 5.5, 6.0, 7.0, 7.5 are available for Ctree and Pervasive, however since version 8.0 Microsoft Great Plains is available on MS SQL Server/MSDE platform only.  Currently Microsoft Great Plains 9.0 is offered in USA, Latin America, Canada (including French Canadian version for Quebec), UK, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and other countries where official language is English – such as South East Asia, for instance.
  • Microsoft Navision/Navision Attain/Microsoft Dynamics NAV.  Some ERP analytics believe that Microsoft Great Plains Business Solutions (later renamed into Microsoft Business Solutions) bought Navision Software (est. in 1984).  The fundamental ideas of Navision come to its own shell – C/SIDE, database proprietary platform: C/SIDE, etc. Navision was designed to be flexible and grow with your business – from small to upper mid-market.  Navision Software had its own marketing plans prior to be purchased by Microsoft and expanded in continental Europe, UK, USA (competing with Great Plains Software and Solomon Software).  When Navision was bought by Microsoft – Microsoft Business Solutions offered and promoted Navision in East Europe: Russia, Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary, etc.  Plus it tried Navision in Brazil (over 100 implementations - 2005).  Navision is more flexible to localization challenge (than Microsoft Great Plains)
  • Microsoft Axapta/Microsoft Dynamics AX – it seems to be rising star for Microsoft and it can compete with upper ERP/MRP mid-market. Axapta has modern design and its ability to expand is still in its architecture modern model (versus Great Plains or Navision – where we see integrations with MS Office, Web Fronts/Business Portal/eConnect/eCommerce type of improvements).  In late 2005 we see US and UK MBS VAR activity to sign for Axapta and consultants training.
  • Microsoft Dynamics SL/Microsoft Solomon – this ERP is for project-driven organizations.
  • Microsoft Dynamics CRM 3.0/Microsoft CRM 3.0.  This CRM solution from Microsoft is abreast of the majority of Microsoft recent ideas and innovations: Microsoft Exchange, Active Directory, XML Web Services driven MS CRM SDK with C# and VB.Net sample code.  Currently MS CRM 1.2 and 3.0 has integration to Microsoft Dynamics GP 7.5, 8.0 (with service patch) and 9.0 (coming…)

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Andrew Karasev is Chief Technology Officer at Alba Spectrum Technologies ( http://www.albaspectrum.com http://www.greatplains.com.mx http://www.enterlogix.com.br ) - Microsoft Business Solutions Great Plains, Navision, Axapta MS CRM, Oracle Financials and IBM Lotus Domino Partner, serving corporate customers in the following industries: Aerospace & Defense, Medical & Healthcare, Distribution & Logistics, Hospitality, Banking & Finance, Wholesale & Retail, Chemicals, Oil & Gas, Placement & Recruiting, Advertising & Publishing, Textile, Pharmaceutical, Non-Profit, Beverages, Conglomerates, Apparels, Durables, Manufacturing and having locations in multiple states and internationally.



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